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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 17, 2009 11 years ago

Sarasota girl secures spot in Shrek musical

by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

Hannah Beatt sat in front of a bay window wearing a princess crown and Shrek-green dress while she serenaded an audience of dolls with “I Know It’s Today.”

Hannah, 9, hoped her videotaped performance would be good enough to win the role of Young Fiona as part of “Shrek the Musical’s” “Not Your Ordinary Princess” Broadway competition.

Hair curling forward, backward and sideways, Hannah eagerly swings open the front door of her house Monday.

After settling herself into a kitchen chair, she launches into the story of her videotape audition and what’s on the horizon for the upcoming weekend she’ll spend in New York City with her family.

“I’m just plain-ol’ hyper,” says Hannah, who is so full of excitement she can’t get the words out fast enough.

After three attempts, she finally slows down and starts again.

“I entered an Internet competition on called ‘Shrek the Musical’s’ ‘Not Your Ordinary Princess,’” Hannah says. “I had to compete with lots of girls. When my mom told me I won, I was thinking to myself, ‘This isn’t happening. Is this really happening?’”

“We got an e-mail from the publicist that said the way she portrayed the character was exactly how they had imagined Young Fiona,” Hannah’s mom, Danielle Beatt, says. “I could see her back there in the car reading it. She was completely in shock. It’s been all crazy since then.”

Hannah, a fourth-grader at Goldie Feldman Academy, has played roles in “Music Man” at the Manatee Players Theater; “The Sound of Music” at the Sarasota Players; “High School Musical” at Goldie Feldman; and “Immigrant Children” at Florida Studio Theater.

“I am sick, so I’m hoping I’ll feel better by the time we leave Thursday,” says Hannah, as she blows her nose. “It’s better out than in, I always say. That’s a ‘Shrek’ quote!”

Hannah says she is happiest when she’s performing — the only hard part is sitting still in class.

“The school has provided an environment so she can continue developing her talent,” Danielle Beatt says.
“Her teachers have all seen her perform, and they are blown away. As scattered as she seems right now, she is 100% focused during performances.”

As the house phone and cell phone ring simultaneously, Hannah hops up and down, making the glasses on her nose bounce, and exclaims, “It’s Shrek, I think! I’m like a bunny!”

Settling into serious mode for a moment, the future Broadway star says she’s determined to have a career in singing, dancing and acting.

“It’s amazing how they choreographed this musical, how they did the show — everything about it,” Hannah says. “I’m excited for the cast and their futures. Sutton Foster (Fiona) got a Tony Award last year — actually, all five actors have gotten Tony Awards for being the most amazing people they could be. I recommend this show for kids my age and adults like my mom and dad. It’s so absolutely funny.”

Danielle Beatt tells Hannah it’s time to pick up her younger sister, Julia, from school, but the budding actress hasn’t yet tired of being interviewed.

“Hey, want to hear Pinocchio’s song on my iPod?” she asks. “It’s green — the color of Shrek!”

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